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Chat with Siôn and Dick

Chat with Siôn and Dick

The National Centre for Learning Welsh runs the ‘Siarad’ scheme, which gives Welsh learners at Intermediate and above levels the opportunity to chat with Welsh speakers outside the classroom.

Siôn Thomas and Dick Wingham have been taking part in Siarad since October 2023. Siôn lives in Pwllheli and works at S4C.  Dick is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in Morfa Nefyn and is following an Advanced level course with Learn Welsh North West.

We had a chat with both of them about their Siarad experiences:

Why did you join the Siarad scheme?

Siôn: I heard about ‘Siarad’ through my work.  It sounded like a great opportunity to help someone use their Welsh outside the classroom.  As I work shifts, I thought that meeting during the day would work well while my son was at school and my wife was working.

Dick: I like to have as many opportunities as possible to speak Welsh.  My aim is to be able to chat with local people in the pub.

How did the first meeting go?

Dick: It was fine - we met at the Bryncynan Inn in Pwllheli in the afternoon and had a coffee and introduced ourselves.

Siôn: It was hard to imagine what to expect before the first meeting, but as we chatted and learned about each other's interests, everything started to feel very natural.

Where do you meet now?

Dick: We have met in several different cafes in Pwllheli and the surrounding area.

What’s the best thing about the ‘Siarad’ scheme?

Siôn: It’s great to see learners' enthusiasm for the language, and how we can help them have the confidence to speak Welsh in the community.  I've also gotten to know a new person and had very interesting discussions.

Dick: The best thing for me is having a chance to hear and respond to Welsh as it is spoken on the street, in the community.

How has the scheme helped you?

Siôn: It has helped me to realise that a little bit of your time can be of great help to a learner.  It has also shown me what is possible when we all come together to increase the number of confident Welsh speakers.

What would be your advice to someone who is considering joining the scheme?

Dick: Grab the opportunity!

Siôn: If you have the time, it is very much appreciated by learners.  You don’t have to prepare anything -  it's just an easy way to support someone who’s learning Welsh.